Page images
PDF

Irish air, as they say, called Caun du delish. The fact is, in a publication of Corri's, a great while ago, you will find the same air, called a Highland one, with a Gaelic song set, to it. Its name there, I think, is Oran Gaoil, and a fine air it is. Do ask honest Allan, or the Rev. Gaelic Parson, about these matters.

No. XXXIV.

MR BURNS to MR THOMSON,

MY DEAR SIR,

August, 1793. Let me in this ae night, I will reconsider. I am glad that you are pleased with my song, Had I a cave, &c., as I liked it myself.

I walked out yesterday evening with a volume of the Museum in my hand; when, turning up Allan Water, “ What numbers shall the muse repeat," &c. as the words appeared to me rather unworthy of so fine an air, and recollecting that it is on your list, I sat and raved under the shade of an old thorn, till I wrote one to suit the measure. I may be wrong; but I think it not in my worst style. You must know, that in Ramsay's Tea table, where the modern song first appeared, the ancient name of the tune, Allan says, is Allan Water, or My love Annie's very bonnie. This last has certainly been a line of the original song ; so I took up the idea, and as you will see, have introduced the line its place, which I presume it formerly occupied; though I likewise

give you a chusing line, if it should not hit the cut of your fancy. .

· By Allan stream I chanc'd to rove,

While Phæbus sank beyond Benleddi ;*
The winds were whispering thro' the grove,

The yellow corn was waving ready:
I listen’d to a lover's sang,

And thought on youthfu' pleasures mony ; And ay the wild-wood echoes rang

0, dearly do I love thee, Annie !+

O, happy be the woodbine bower,

Nae nightly bogle make it eerie ; Nor ever sorrow stain the hour,

The place and time I met my dearie ! Her head upon my throbbing breast,

She, sinking, said, “ I'm thine for ever !" While mony a kiss the seal imprest,

The sacred vow, we ne'er should sever.

The haunt o' spring's the primrose brae,

The simmer joys the flocks to follow ; How cheery thro' her shortening day,

Is autumn in her weeds o' yellow ! But can they melt the glowing heart,

Or chain the soul in speechless pleasure ? Or thro' each nerve the rapture dart,

Like meeting her, our bosom's treasure ?

"A mountain, west of Strath-Allan, 3,009 feet high. R. B. + Or, O my love Annie's very bonnie.'

R. B. VOL, IV,

Bravo! say I: it is a good song. Should you think so too (not else), you can set the music to it, and let the other follow as English verses.

Autumn is my propitious season. I make more -verses in it than all the year else.

God bless you!

No. XXXV.

MR BURNS.to Mr THOMSON.

August, 1793. Is Whistle, and r'll come to you, my lad, one of your airs ? I admire it much ; and yesterday I set the following verses to it. Urbani, whom I have met with here, begged them of me, as he admires the air much; but as I understand that he looks with rather an evil eye on your work, I did not choose to comply. However, if the song does not suit your taste, I may possibly send it him. The set of the air which I had in my eye is in Johnson's Museum.

..... ........

O WHISTLE, and I'll come to you, my lad,*
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my 'lad :

* In some of the MSS. the four first lines run thus :

O whistle, and I'll come to thee, my jo,
o whistle, and I'll come to thee, my jo;
Tho' father and mother, and a' should say ro,

O whistle, and I'll come to thee, my jo.
See also No. LXXVII.

[ocr errors]

Tho' father and mither, and a’should gae mad, O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad.

But warily tent, when ye come to court me,
And come na unless the back-yett be a-jee;
Syne up the back-stile, and let nae body see,
And come as ye were na comin to me.
And come, &c.

O whistle, &c.

At kirk, or at market, whene'er ye meet me,
Gang by me as tho' that ye car'd nae a flie;
But steal me a blink o'your bonnie black e'e,
Yet look as ye were na lookin at me.
Yet look, &c.

O whistle, &c.

Ay vow and protest that ye care na for me,
And whyles ye may lightly my beauty a wee;
But court nae anither, tho' jokin ye be,
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me.
For fear, &c.

O whistle &c.

Another favourite air of mine, is, The muckin o Geordie's Byre; when sung slow with expression, I have wished that it had had better poetry; that I have endeavoured to supply as follows :

Adown winding Nith I did wander,

To mark the sweet flowers as they spring;

Adown winding Nith I did wander,

Of Phillis to muse and to sing.

CHORUS
Awa ' your belles and your beauties,

They never wiher can compare :
Whaever has met wi' my Phillis,

Has met withe queen o' the fair.

The daisy amus'd my fond fancy,

So artless, so simple, so wild ; Thou emblem, said I, o' my Phillis ! For she is simplicity's child.

Awa, &c.

The rose-bud's the blush o' my charmer,

Her sweet balmy lip when 'tis prest :
How fair and how pure is the lily,
But fairer and purer her breast.

Awa, &c.

Yon knot of gay flowers in the arbour,

They ne'er wi' my Phillis can vie :
Her breath is the breath o' the woodbine,
It's dew-drop o' diamond, her eye.

Awa, &c.

Her voice is the song of the morning

That wakes thro' the green-spreading grove, When Phæbus peeps over the mountains, On music, and pleasure, and love,

Awa &c.

« PreviousContinue »